I love my neighborhood of make believe, but for years I could not understand why there was no pleasant place for a morning coffee, Italian style. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but I am too old for Generation X coffee house grunge decor. So, despite the fact that Starbucks has improved the general level of coffee in the US, I have wandered around disconsolately from cofffee chain outposts to independent coffee bars for a good Italian style coffee. You know; espresso, cappuccino, ristretto (my afternoon favorite) or a macchiato. Occasionally there would be an almost shining moment and then everything would fall apart on repeated visits. Not a single place would have a good fruit salad. I mean, if you are going to stay with melon and grapes with a few strawberries thrown in, at least get good ones. What is with the huge strawberries with a white flavorless cores? Rubbery croissants and hockey puck scones are too much punishment at 7am. What amazes me is that people line up for this in the morning and voluntarily hand over their hard earned cash.
I understand that service in a coffee bar here can be spotty. I am okay with that, if they wash out their machines and don’t make coffee flavored milk. So the winners in the service division were the employees at the Starbucks on the corner of Union and King. Plus there were some tables outside. Coffee in a ceramic cup rather than paper actually tastes better (I know, I know, there is a difference, believe it or not). And these folks did a great job when they had ceramic cups available. Coffee andpastries were better at Pain Quotidien , another chain with all the right slogans. Actually I was ecstatic when they opened one on the corner of King and Washington Street.
But now it’s a new morning in my neighborhood of make believe. We finally have an attractive venue that is open at 7am, has outdoor seating, the most fabulous Italian style coffees, to die for croissants, lovely fruit salads, AND freshly squeezed orange juice. The scones and biscuits which have been a work in progress are really good too. It’s called Society Fair at 227 South Washington Street and is the newest addition to the Evel Empire, or as they prefer to be called, “EatGoodFoodGroup. Their phone numeber is 703 836 3247.
Meet Portia, their extraordinary barista, and pick up one of Nathan’s pastries (he makes the best bread in Old Town). Sometimes they have his ethereal doughnuts. I inhaled mine before I could take a picture of it. All the images of cappuccini here were ones that she made. She currently offers caffe shakerato, the perfect morning cooler in our 95 plus temperature and humidity.
If you go later, introduce yourself to Julian, who is a real butcher. Candid and talented, Julian will sell you meat the way a butcher does in Europe. His house made pates and sausages vary from good to out of this world…just remember that he buys from small farms where livestock is sold whole. So he uses everything from nose to tail. He always has cuts that are almost impossible to find such as pear and spider steaks.
I am happy and all is good in my neighborhood of make believe.